Lower energy consumption leads to lower emissions of carbon dioxide

08/12/2009 15:00

Energy consumption in the first eight months of 2009 was down by more than 4 percent on the same period in 2008. This has led to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Less energy used

Less crude oil and coal was consumed: crude oil consumption was down by nearly 7 percent and coal by 8 percent. Natural gas consumption fell by less than 1 percent. The reduction in energy consumption was most pronounced in the iron and steel industry and in road transport. These were the sectors that suffered a great deal from the economic downturn, mainly in the first six months of 2009.

Energy consumption in the first eight months of 2009

Energy consumption in the first eight months of 2009

Emission carbon dioxide down

The emission of carbon dioxide fell by over 4 percent in the first eight months of 2009.
This is equivalent to a decrease of about 7 billion kg a year. Three quarters was realised by manufacturing and the energy sector, a quarter by road transport. Transport companies used over 6 percent less diesel oil because they drove fewer kilometres. Therefore the emission of carbon dioxide by road traffic fell by over 4 percent.

Emission of carbon dioxide

Emission of carbon dioxide

Kyoto objectives

Under the Kyoto protocol the Netherlands has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008-2012 by an average of 6 percent a year relative to 1990. In 2008 the emission was 3 percent below the 1990 level.

This reduction was not due to a cut in the emission of carbon dioxide but due to pushing back the emissions of other greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorine gasses. The emission of carbon dioxide in the first eight months of 2009 is also still over the 1990 level.

With the reduction in 2009 the average annual target for 2009 (minus 6 percent) comes within reach. So the economic downturn helps a bit when it comes to realising the Kyoto objectives.

Kees Olsthoorn and Otto Swertz